Since its inception in 1995 by a group of friends working together on the Lower East Side, the 24 Hour Company has gained a major presence in the New York theatre community. A frequent centerpiece of theatre benefit events, the group provides exactly what the title implies: plays that are written, directed, and performed within a 24-hour time span. Celebrity participants in The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway in 2005 included Hayden Christensen, Rosie Perez, Adam Pascal, and Elizabeth Berkley.
In honor of the Fringe's 10th anniversary, the company is presenting a retrospective of its work: 24 Is 10: The Best of the 24 Hour Plays. Each of the five Fringe performances offers a different selection of plays; among the featured playwrights are Jeff Whitty, John Belluso, Adam Bock, Christopher Shinn, and David Lindsay-Abaire.
Tuesday's opening night performance featured five short comedies of varying theatrical styles. "Tobias, Angel of Heaven" by Connor Ratliff wonders what would happen if an angel accidentally killed God and then came down to Earth in order to hide. "Dream State, or the Subconscious Burlesque" by Angel David is a conceptual piece on dreams mixed with some sexual humor. "Crisco" by Julie Stark examines the relationship between the two children of a famous wrestler and their mother. "The Bus Stop" by Candido Tirado, which has nothing to do with the William Inge classic, studies a motley group of individuals on a park bench. "The Rumor" by Dan Kois, a parody of Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out, observes a baseball player refuting media rumors that he is a pitcher who bats both ways. In other words, whether or not he is -- gasp -- ambidextrous!
None of these plays were meant for posterity, but one can sense the theatrical excitement with which they were originally written and performed. It is precisely this burst of fresh energy that makes 24 Is 10 an ideal Fringe show. These are plays are written in a fast, impromptu fashion merely for the sake of fun and never in the hope of a commercial run.
Presented by the 24 Hour Company as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher St., NYC.
Aug. 22-27. Remaining performances: Thu., Aug. 24, 6:15 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 26, 8:45 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 27, 6 p.m.
(212) 279-4488 or www.fringenyc.org.